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Hip Joint Replacement

Alternate Names

  • total hip replacement
  • THR
  • total hip arthroplasty

Definition

Hip joint replacement is a surgical procedure to replace the hip joint. The new joint is artificial and has 2 parts. The first part is the hip's socket, called the acetabulum. This is a cup-shaped bone in the pelvis. The second part is the "ball" or head of the femur, also called the thighbone.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?

This surgery is most commonly done to relieve severe arthritis, which can wear down the hip joint.
People with other conditions, such as injury, bone tumors, and avascular necrosis (a loss of bone caused by a lack of blood supply to it), may also need a hip joint replaced.
An individual is usually advised to consider this surgery when the following conditions apply:
  • The pain is severe enough to restrict not only work and recreation but also the normal activities of daily living.
  • The pain is not relieved by arthritis medications.
  • The person is not helped by the use of a cane or walker.
  • There is significant stiffness of the hip that limits activities.
  • Joint X-rays show advanced arthritis or other severe problems.

How is the procedure performed?

The surgeon first removes the diseased bone and cartilage. Replacement pieces are implanted into healthy areas of the pelvis and thighbone. These pieces are then cemented in place.
One method does not require cement and is called a "cementless" hip joint replacement. This allows bone to grow into the prosthesis, and it may last longer than a cemented hip. This can be an important advantage for younger people.
The surgery is usually done in the operating room under general anesthesia, which means the person is put completely to sleep. The procedure usually takes 2 to 3 hours to perform.

Sources

Professional Guide to Diseases, Springhouse Corporation, 1998.

Orthopedic Nursing, Maher, 1994.

[hyperLink url="http://www.nih.gov/niams/healthinfo/hiprepqa.htm" linkTitle="www.nih.gov/niams/healthinfo/hiprepqa.htm"] www.nih.gov/niams/healthinfo/hiprepqa.htm[/hyperLink]

[hyperLink url="http://www.vh.org/Patients/IHG/Ortho/HipReplace/HipReplace.html" linkTitle="www.vh.org/Patients/IHG/Ortho/HipReplace/HipReplace.html"] www.vh.org/Patients/IHG/Ortho/HipReplace/HipReplace.html[/hyperLink]

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